Nigeria’s 2008 budget ‘to be presented to the public’

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Bicameral legislature in passing the 2008 Appropriation Bill may end Tuesday (12 Feb), as the National Assembly (parliament) has announced plans to present the budget to the public on the same day (Tuesday).

The 2.4 trillion naira federal budget had been due for passage last week, but it was delayed by what Senate Spokesman Ayogu Eze said was the inability of the executive to conclusively furnish the relevant committees with the financial position or the financial profile of government (117 naira=US$1). “This has been coming in bits and pieces. But finally, we are getting a fuller picture of the revenue profile,” he told journalists in the capital city of Abuja Monday.

Corroborating his assurance, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Iyiola Omisore, said the budget was ready for presentation, meaning it had cleared all hurdles at the legislature. “I just want to announce to you that there have been speculations in the print and electronic media that the budget will be presented today (Monday) or tomorrow (Tuesday). The budget, will be presented to the Nigerian public tomorrow (Tuesday) by the National Assembly,” he told journalists.

The Nigerian constitution demands that the executive (presidency) presents the annual budget to the Parliament for debate, scrutiny and approval after which the President is required to sign it into law before it can be implemented. The delay in passing the budget by the National Assembly has elicited strong criticisms, especially from the Nigeria’s Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

President Umaru Yar’Adua presented the Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly last year. It is the first budget to be prepared by the Yar’Adua administration since he assumed office 29 May 2007.

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